Kolkata: The BJP Friday picked Priyanka Tibrewal, a 41-year-old lawyer, to contest against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the byelection to the Bhabanipur seat on 30 September.
Tibrewal, vice-president of the party’s youth wing in West Bengal, was one of the petitioners and BJP’s counsel in the post-poll violence cases in the Calcutta High Court. Tibrewal moved court in May seeking compensation for the victims and a CBI inquiry into the alleged murders and rapes.
The petitions eventually led to the court ordering a CBI probe.
After the announcement, BJP leaders said Tibrewal “brought justice for the victims of political violence by relentlessly fighting against Mamata Banerjee and her administration”.
Law graduate to BJP candidate
Tibrewal is an alumna of south Kolkata’s Hazra Law College and completed her MBA from Thailand’s Assumption University.
She started her journey as a member of the BJP’s legal cell in 2014, and is now a senior member of the party’s Yuva Morcha.
Tibrewal has also been a counsel for many BJP leaders, including former minister Babul Supriyo.
During the state assembly election held in March-April this year, Tibrewal contested from Entally assembly constituency but lost to Trinamool Congress’ sitting MLA Swarnakamal Saha by around 57,000 votes.
What BJP & TMC say
Even though several names were being floated as Mamata’s challenger, the BJP narrowed down the list to two — Priyanka Tibrewal and Biswajit Sarkar, elder brother of BJP’s first victim of post-poll violence in Kolkata. On Friday, Priyanka’s name was announced.
Urging Bhabanipur to ‘defeat Mamata’, the BJP leaders said Tibrewal stood against the CM and stood up for victims of post-poll violence.
“Bengal will witness a contest between the perpetrator of brutal violence (Mamata Banerjee) and the person who fought against the violence and for the victims. I have no qualms in accepting that many senior BJP leaders switched off their phones in fear of attack. There was hardly anyone to address the concern of the victims’ families. Priyanka, despite being a young politician, stood against the chief minister and her administration,” said BJP MP Arjun Singh.
“She has achieved this position. It is not easy to become a candidate against Mamata Banerjee in Bengal. There will be a lot of mud-slinging and personal attacks. People who have heard her arguments in the court know that she is fiery and fearless,” Singh, who has been appointed the BJP’s observer for Bhabanipur, added.
Amit Malviya, BJP’s IT cell chief, said “Bhabanipore must defeat Mamata Banerjee to stop Talibanisation of WB.”
BJP has announced Smt @impriyankabjp, who represented the victims of post poll violence in Calcutta HC and got the order mandating a CBI and SIT probe, as its candidate from Bhabanipore against Mamata Banerjee.
Bhabanipore must defeat Mamata Banerjee to stop Talibanisation of WB. pic.twitter.com/VdCfs441xo
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) September 10, 2021
Trinamool Congress leaders, however, referred to Tibrewal’s nomination ‘walkover’.
Kunal Ghosh, the ruling party’s state general secretary, said, “BJP was not getting a candidate. Finally, they got one in Priyanka, who lost the election by a massive margin to our veteran leader in Entally. Her defeat is only three months old. Now, BJP just wants to reward her by giving a little photo opportunity to her as Mamata Banerjee’s challenger. It is a consolation prize for fighting the case.”
In the high-pitched election campaign in West Bengal earlier this year, Banerjee moved out of her home turf of Bhabanipur to fight in Nandigram, but lost to her former party colleague Suvendu Adhikari, who contested on a BJP ticket.
She now needs to get elected as an MLA in order to continue holding the post of chief minister in accordance with Article 164(4) of the Constitution, the same constitutional hurdle that resulted in Tirath Singh Rawat resigning as Uttarakhand CM this July.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)